Judge: Bergdahl to get fair sentence, despite Trump remarks

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — President Donald Trump's scathing criticism of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will not prevent the soldier from receiving a fair sentence for endangering comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009, a judge ruled today.

The judge, Army Col. Jeffery Nance, said the court has not been directly affected by Trump's remarks. Then-Republican nominee Trump repeatedly called Bergdahl a traitor on the campaign trial and suggested that he be shot or thrown from a plane without a parachute. Trump revived those comments when Bergdahl pleaded guilty on Oct. 16 by saying at a news conference he thinks people are aware of what he said before.

After walking away from his post, Bergdahl was held by Taliban allies for five years. He pleaded guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. He faces a maximum of life in prison.

The judge said he would consider Trump's comments as a mitigating factor in the sentencing. Other mitigating and aggravating factors that he could consider include Bergdahl's mental health and serious wounds to service members who searched for him.

Also today, emotional testimony was expected from the wife of a seriously wounded soldier.

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